Archive for April, 2020

Fake News

There is a defensive ploy often used when seeking to discredit an opponent in a verbal conflict. It is simply this: accuse the opponents of doing what you are doing in such a way as to focus attention on them doing it so people won’t notice you are doing it.

For example, accuse a person of hate speech in such a way people won’t notice you are employing hate speech. Often the person accusing an individual of hate speech has more hate than the accused. One accusing another of bigotry is at times an even bigger bigot. By focusing attention on another they escape being identified as a bigot.

In the entertainment field of magic this is called misdirection. In magic the audience is encouraged to look in one direction while something is happening in another. Magic consists of creating an image by misdirection of the senses. If the senses are misdirected by a lie, it creates what communications experts call a meme. A meme is an idea that spreads like a virus from person to person. Facebook is notorious for memes.

Hitler is said to have commented, “If you tell a big enough lie, and tell it frequently enough it will be believed.” Whether he said it or not, it is the truth.

Both national political parties have master “magicians” working to divert attention from what they are doing. If one party is floating a discrediting lie on the other they accuse the other of lying.

Minnesota Senator Ilhan Omar is a classic example of a use of misdirection. In her criticism of America’s support of Israel she claims legislators who support Israel have in effect dual citizenship. This misdirects persons’ attention from Omar’s radical support of Islamic countries. By accusing others of dual citizenship she herself has an even more radical dualism.

The classic act of mass misdirection relates to the Allies’ invasion of Europe at Normandy. It was know that if Hitler moved his massive force from Calais to Normandy the invasion would fail. To keep his forces at Calais a fake army was built up across the English Channel near Dover, England consisting of fake jeeps, tanks, and trucks built from cloth and plywood. Inflatable rubber vehicles were also deployed. Every night troops would pick up the vehicles and move them to a different location complete with fake tire tracks. Even a fake navy was developed. German forces were misdirected to Calais to prevent the invasion which occurred at Normandy. Misdirection ruled the day.

Today Europe and much of the world is experiencing misdirection regarding conditions in America. The people of other nations develop their opinion of American politics and economics by watching CNN. All the insight regarding America most people in other countries gets comes from that one source. The CNN depiction of America is not without bias. Therefore, the world’s concept of America is tendentious.

Seasoned politicians before being interviewed often make a list of their talking points and no matter the topic of the question by the person doing the interview, they misdirect it and make their point. In doing this tactfully they misdirect the attention from a question they don’t want to answer to a topic they want to advance. Notice this in TV interviews.

Not all misdirection is a lie, but all lies are a misdirection.

Jews And Discrimination

Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar is the first Somali-American to serve in Congress. She has been outspokenly critical of Jews and Israel. Congress was prompted to pass a watered down resolution condemning hate speech, thus avoiding passing a resolution opposing her comments.

Her comments come at a time when hate crimes are on the rise in America. Jews are more often victims of hate crimes than any segment of the population. Hate crimes against Jews rose by more than a third last year comprising 58 percent of all religious-based crimes. Jews are victims of more hate crimes than Muslims, who represented 16 percent of religious-based hate crimes. More Jews are victims of hate crimes than are persons of African descent.

There are six million Jews in America. They are classified as Jews based on their ethnicity, not their religion or sympathy with Israel. Half of them are unaffiliated, meaning their Jewishness is unimportant to them. That helps understand why in national elections they often do not vote for the presidential candidate most friendly to Israel. There is perhaps a larger per cent of support for President Trump in the Jewish community in Israel than in the Jewish community in America.

In America the Christian community is basically supportive of Israel. For those who do not understand the basis of such support the following is offered to help comprehend why. The support is biblically based.

Three times in Scripture it is said God gave the land of promise to the Jews (Genesis 26:3; 28:13; 32:28). It is called “the apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2: 8).

God’s promise to Abram is recorded in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

The Jewish community affords several background blessings for the Christian community: the Scripture, the prophets, the patriarchs, the twelve apostles, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.

Christians in general accept the instruction of Psalm 122: 6, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you.”

There are things about Israel regarding which I do not approve, but if we wait for perfection before praying for a person or about a thing we are
remiss.

Israel is the only republic with elected officials in that region of the world, our most supportive of any country in the middle-east. There is a popular t-shirt in tourist shops in Israel showing an F-16 fighter with the caption, “America don’t worry, Israel is behind you.” They are a very close ally of America.

Republicans have expressed hope Omar and her ilk will inspire support for President Trump. Several national Jewish leaders have indicated Omar’s comments won’t move the needle toward President Trump in spite of all he has done to aid and favor Israel.

There is a biblical example of those being blessed who bless Israel. Jesus went to the house of Cornelius in Capernaum, a Gentile, to heal his servant. The logic Jewish elders used to persuade Jesus to go is recorded in Luke 7:5 “he loves our nation and has built us a synagogue.”

God’s response to Cornelius is noted as, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.” (Acts 10: 4)

Cornelius blessed the Jews and God blessed Cornelius.

There is no perfection among nations, but if erring I want to err in compliance with, “I will bless those who bless you” Israel.

Values And Virtues

Values and virtues have been changing expeditiously. In effect they have been inverted within a generation. Our national moral standards have been likened to a store front window into which someone came in secretly and reversed the price tags on items making the valuable look cheep and the cheep more valuable.

This description is applicable of a number of societies over the ages.

The ancient prophet Isaiah (5:20) offers this caution: “Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitterness for sweet, and sweet for bitter!!”

Such is a description of a group of ancient “wise men,” sophists, who were making a case for their deviate actions.

Against Isaiah’s warning of “woe” we go our merry way as though the warning does not apply to us. The consequence has always been as natural as it is for one plus one to equal two. That conduct always naturally results in what is summed up in the word “woe.” It always has and always will.

The ancient Greek Thucydides described this spirit in the Peloponnesian war when rashness was called courage, prudence timidity, treachery cleverness, and honesty stupidity. He was describing a group of moral dissidents. Such distortion in all ages is the natural progression of a culture that doesn’t acknowledge God’s standards, and always ends in what is summed up in the little word “woe.” It is still part of the life equation.

There is a relevant agricultural application. You always reap what you sow, later than you sow, and more than you sow.

Today attitudes and actions that were broadly accepted as immoral in previous generations are accepted as the new norm. Today among progressives there is no shame in what was only a short time ago considered sensual and shameful. A strata of our society is not ashamed of sin, nor do they care for honesty, but are inclined to a desperate immorality.

You can call bitter sweet, but it is still bitter. You have changed its name but not its nature. Karl Menninger, founder of the renowned Menninger Clinic wrote a book entitled, “Whatever Became of Sin.” His thesis is we are inclined to call what has long been called sin by some other names. Thus we hear less of sin. It is not that there is less, but it has been given a more acceptable name. He concludes by what ever name it is know it still has its debilitating impact. You can call evil good, but it is still evil with its same influence. Conversely you can call good evil, but it retains its virtue.

You can call a lie a mis-spoken word, but it is still an deceptive untruth.

You can call socialism progressiveness, but it is still a flawed system of government and economy that has proven it doesn’t work every where it has been tried. Yet, socialism is being sold to an uninformed public as good.

This practice of calling evil good and good evil began in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. If evil were not postured as good and good as evil there would be no temptation.

As an individual we may not be able to change our total culture to choose good not evil, light not darkness, sweet not bitter, but we can determine by which we will live personally.

Walls: Do They Work?

The Hyksos are a little known people. Time writes faintly on the pages of these mysterious people in light of their impact. They seem to have emerged out of Asia and settled in the Eastern Nile Delta around 1650 BC. They were Semitic, though not Jews, and spoke and wrote in Semitic. They were not of one nation, but many drawn by a common denominator; Egypt, an opportunistic land of promise. It is speculated that among their various nationalities were Hurrian and Indo-European people.

They began as a trickle, moving into lower Egypt.However, many had already entered bringing with them some advanced principles and implements that seem beneficial to Egyptian culture. Among their arts and crafts were some advance weapons of war. They introduced the chariot for warfare. As their numbers increased so did their impact on the culture and economy of the region. This led to the opening border of Egypt providing an unofficial invitation and soon caravans of Hyksos flooded. This surge resulted in larger numbers of them moving north and exercising greater influence on the Egyptian culture.

As their numbers increased a 500-meter long “giant fence” was built to stem the influx. Their numbers entering was decreased.

By 1782 BC in the Egyptian city of Avaris in Lower Egypt they established the Second Intermediate Period (1782-1570 BC). From their number leaders emerged. Two declared themselves a Pharaoh and ruled north and south Egypt. Some scholars believe the pharaoh with whom Moses related to have been a Hyksos. There is little evidence to support this. Overall Hyksos ruled Egypt for over 200 years. The trickle became a tsunami.

When driven from Egypt by Almose of Thebes, their destiny has been as mysterious as their emergence. However, while in Egypt they influenced the religion, economy, morality, and culture in general.

When a significant culture invades a nation they invariably set about to change the very things that attracted them there.

America is facing a challenge not unlike that of ancient Egypt. One can’t help but be moved by the thousands seeking entrance into our country. Their plight, however, does not give them the right to violate our laws.

A clash is likely at our border not between cultures, but between compassion and the laws of a sovereign state, It is yet to be revealed who sponsored and organized the caravans and why. Seven thousand people didn’t meet by chance in a park and agree to take a hike to America.

If allowed in, it will be an open invitation for more to come. If allowed in, then our government (you and I) will have to provide them the support the country from which they came from didn’t.

Like with the Hyksos, what matters is the issue of what ideals and ideas do they bring with them and how will that change America. This ancient issue needs addressing, Who sets about to build a house and does not first count the cost? The ethos of America is at stake.

The process of legal immigration is valid and valuable. We need immigrants, but we need to know who they are and what is their intent, That is how American immigration has always worked and it worked..

Remember the Hyksos!

Minimum Wage

“Raise the minimum wage, it is the compassionate economic thing to do.” That is the plaintive plea often made. Is it? What will it result in and who will it hurt? Before the authoritative power brokers make the decision they need to study some examples. After all decisions have results, actions have reactions.

We just returned from beautiful Bermuda. The island is 22 square miles of beauty populated by approximately 62,000 people.

Most of the vegetation was imported years ago from Australia. The island was the jumping off port from North America to Australia. Ships would carry merchandise from the Americas to Australia and fill their empty hulls with plants on their way back. The verdure hills of the island have resulted in rare landscapes. Portuguese were brought into work the crops and their descendants are still the farmers today.

In times past the British had large stockpiles of munitions stored there. It became one of the main involuntary suppliers of the army of George Washington.

The islanders were once friendly and inviting. Fifteen years ago when we started going there Johnny Bunn, a local stood, rain or shine at the primary roundabout near the entrance of Hamilton, waving to every car that passed. Johnny died recently and his friendly spirit did also. People are less friendly and more reserved. One local explained the change as being people are “making babies” at a younger age and not teaching them the values inherent in their culture. This has resulted in a seismic sociological shift.

They have a minimum wage of $23.00. Sounds good to some. What is the result?

When wages increase the cost of goods and services increase. It is the inevitable tit-for-tat. Dramatic inflation has resuted. Gas is $9.00 a gallon. Basic staples, such a bread, milk, and eggs have increased in price. A dozen eggs is between $4.00 and $5.00. Most hamburgers are between $15.00 and $20.00.

There are several beautiful golf courses on the island. The PGA World Cup Championship was held there recently as was the American’s Cup regatta. The initial membership to join the Mid-Ocean Golf Club is one million dollars.

The result of raising the minimal wage is that those who were poor are still poor proportionately. An increase in the minimal wage has resulted in an increase in the cost of goods and services. The ratio is still about the same. Those who have suffered are those on a fixed income. Their wages have not escalated beyond the increase in the overall costs of living. The result is many people have to work two jobs to get ahead.

Bermudans are not as reluctant to speak about poverty as are Americans. They say that poverty is not defined by a lack of money, but by poor decision making. One social worker told us some people are so illogical in making their decision that the average person would know what they are doing will not work. Even after being given wise council they continue to make illogical decisions.

That is not to speak disparagingly about the majority of bright citizens. There are many sharp business people involved with the numerous world headquarters located on the island.

The island is home to 312 churches. Even in this time of declining membership they are making efforts to renew the moral, ethical, social, and spiritual standards of the past.

America can learn intellectually and avoid their pitfalls or learn experientially and suffer their results.

Socialism: One Size Fits All

To plunder is described as to rob of goods or valuables by force, to despoil, or fleece. Fredrick Bastiat a French economist who lived from 1801 to 1850 wrote, “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

He also wrote these complimentary words regarding America in his time, “Look at the United States. There is no country in the world where the law is kept more within its proper domain: the protection of every person’s liberty and property.”

He then got down to the basic nitty and fundamental gritty and offered a warning regarding plundering saying, “See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefit one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.” He then notes the government of some countries do what no citizen can do. He is describing the government taking from one by taxes and giving to another as an entitlement. The only way our government can give any citizen a single dollar is to take it from another citizen. The fact socialism promises to give away so many free things is they take so much from the people.

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher noted, “The trouble with socialism is you soon run out of other people’s money.”

Charity, generous charity is to be commended. Those who are legitimately needy deserve help. Over 35 million Americans gave to charitable causes in the latest year for which there is data. The amount given to charity in 2018 was over 410 billion dollars. The amount usually goes up about five percent a year. Individuals voluntarily giving to people and causes they support is to be encouraged. This is individual generosity, not plunder.

Our free enterprise system allows for such largess. Socialism would plunder this generosity. Charities would suffer. Under socialism the government would collect the money and distribute it as they will, not necessarily according to the desire of the provider.

Ronald Reagan is reputed to have said, “Socialism only works in two places: Heaven where they don’t need it and hell where they already have it.”

Whether he said it is questionable, but the fact of its truth is beyond question.

Consider the competency of the potential voters in future elections. A broad base of voters is uninformed regarding the foundation of our republic. The following statistics are from 2012. There is little chance the populace has become more informed: 70% did not know the Constitution was the law of the land, 62% of the voters could not name the three branches of the government, 65% did not know the purpose of the judicial branch. These are the people will be voting on the course of our nation.

America is faced with the potential these unenlightened people will elect people who will “…create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it (socialism) and a moral code that glorifies it.”

Bastiat provides this succinct definition of socialism: The (socialist) state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.”

Socialist: What To Expect

Before purchasing a car, it is wise to check the performance of other cars like the one you are considering. You can expect the same performance as they.

Before choosing the form of government to support, it is wise to check the performance of other countries that have used that model. Currently many Americans are favorably considering socialism. Examples of how it has worked abound, all with the same result.

Venezuela is a current example of socialism having ruined a once proud country. It was oil-rich when the socialist Nicolas Manduro came to power. Today it is in free fall. Everything is scarce, even the country’s electric system is failing. Children are fed from garbage dumps. Persons are eating their pets. That is Exhibit A of socialism.

Argentina was once one of the 10 richest counties in the world. Enter Juan Peron advocating what he called “national socialism.” He transformed the government. Presently Argentina ranks 25th among nations in GDP. Are we sure we want that to happen here?

Parallel columns are a good way to make comparisons and there are two good models to consider.

After World War II Germany was divided into two sectors. East Germany had imposed on it a socialist form of government. West Germany adopted a capitalistic form of government. Socialist East Germany built a double wall to keep its people from exiting into West Germany. They shot people who tried to cross over. Conditions were so bad people did try to cross from the East to the West. Finally socialism proved to be such a failure the walls fell.

Another example is Korea. The North being socialist and the South having a much more capitalistic form of government. The GDP in the South is $23,838. That of the North is 3.6 percent of that of the South. Food scarcity is such that there are reports of guards being stationed in cemeteries to prevent bodies being dug up for food.

America currently enjoys a free market system which allows for private ownership and individual productivity. It is far superior to socialism. How then is that system being threatened by a destructive inferior form of government? Simply by offering what it can’t produce, “free stuff.” It is a means of buying votes.

Former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev is reputed to have said, “We cannot expect the Americans to jump from capitalism to communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving Americans small doses of socialism, until they suddenly awake to find they have communism.”

Dangling an example of a successful socialist state is also an enticement. Denmark is heralded as an illustration. That, according to Prime Minister Lars Lekke Rasmussen of Denmark, is a misrepresentation stating: “I know that some people in the U.S. associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism. Therefore I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a Socialist planned economy.”

Without Denmark as a model of successful socialism there is no good example. Every model is a demonstration of a failed government. If America were to venture into socialism no better result can be expected. The models are consistent. To expect a different result is foolish.

“Free” is the cheese in the trap, and to some that is so enticing they don’t see the trap.

Learning can be achieved academically or by personal experience. Let’s pray we learn academically, not experientially to our detriment.

Make America Great Again!

Make America Great Again!

“When was America ever great?” was the critical question asked by former Attorney General Eric Holder. A host echoes the same sentiment. It never was, if you interpret “great” as meaning perfect. However, if it is understood that “great” is a relative term, it applies. Great, compared with what?

Great is a trope, a metaphorical expression, indicating not that it is perfect, but that compared with others countries it excels. Consider, in what other country would you have preferred to be born and live? Given the choice of America, had you rather have been born in the country of your ancestors and still be living there? The option of moving to the land of your forefathers is open.

America certainly had and has imperfections. The era of abhorrent slavery is perhaps America’s nadir of imperfection. The concept is repulsive, inhumane. Bottom line, it was a repugnant sin.

In answering when America was great consider our emergence as a nation when our forefathers pledged their lives, their liberties, and their sacred honor to bring about its birth. That means they were willing to make even the ultimate sacrifice to give us the freedom we enjoy today. It was great when our predecessors composed a constitution that permits our present right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It was a great day when they adopted the Bill of Rights that citizens from all nations would love to have. It was great the day Martin Luther King Jr. helped open the eyes of the nation to a new day of greatness.

It would be an even greater nation if people would stop making disparaging statements that make some people feel there is nothing good in our past and that being an American is not a good thing. Those who do feel that way are at liberty to renounce their citizenship and move, OR stay here and work civilly within the law to improve it, not to radicalize it.

It is embarrassing to acknowledge America has had some lamentably dark days now looked upon sorrowfully and in contrition. Rather than getting caught up on and exploiting those days let’s learn from them and move on in our efforts to make America greater today.

For the people of Europe, Africa, and the Orient, America was great the day Americans freed them from enslaving ideologies imposed by tyrants. America was great during the era after World War II when America helped those nations recover by offering such aid as the Marshal Plan.

America was great the day, rather the freezing night, when George Washington and his mostly barefooted soldiers crossed the Delaware and marched through the snow to win a decisive battle at Trenton against all odds, helping gain our freedom.

It was a great day when Americans raised the flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima at the expense of 6,000 Americans who died and 17,000 who were wounded.

It was a great day slavery was abolished in America. We appropriately reflect on that day, but add to it the millions of people globally American efforts have resulted in setting multiple millions of people free from oppressive despots.

Those were among the ultima Thule days when America reached the highest degree of greatness. There is no nation comparable in good deeds. Consider the benevolence, generosity, charity, amity, humanitarians, and philanthropy. No other country has as much. That alone has made America great.